Hardwood Classic

“If you took my heart out, it would be a basketball.”Kevin Garnett

This won’t be the first time I’d write about basketball, but this would be the first time I’m writing about how I feel towards the game. Its my first love, and it taught me so much; instilled so much values in me that I carry outside of the hardwood.

Dedication to the perfection of a craft. Attention to detail. A never-give-up attitude. Long term work for long term rewards. A competitive drive few can match. Always striving to be the best version of yourself in whatever you do. Critical and quick thinking. Sound decision-making. All of these would have been unknown to me, had I not picked up my first leather ball when I was six years old.

Growing up, I was frail, with weak lungs, and an even weaker demeanor. I can barely run for a few seconds full sprint, and I can barely push a door open. Then, I saw some kids my age playing with an old, worn-out, orange ball outside our house. I got curious, so I went and played with them. I can barely lift the thing, but the moment I picked it up, I knew that it won’t be the last time I’d do so.

Soon I was learning how to dribble with both hands, make passes, hit layups and shoot the ball. It took me years to get the basics improved enough to a respectable level, but I was confident enough to try and play in my first local league in the neighborhood. I saw the same kids that I saw years ago, and it seems that I was going to play against them.

I was small when I was younger – ten, at the time – so I had to play point guard, which has to be the most mentally taxing position. Add the fact that I have to handle the rock for most of the game, and for a ten-year old kid, I didn’t have the fortitude for it. I was one of the guys that they knew can play, so they had me play as much as possible.

I struggled(okay, I sucked) in that league. That got me questioning whether I chose the right sport for me, or am I just forcing myself into something that isn’t really fit for what I’m good at. During this time, I opted not to join any leagues, and just played alone.

“If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.” – Kobe Bryant

Inadvertently, I got to practice my shooting and handles. Working alone, I had free reign on my shooting mechanics, and I can dribble all I want. I was able to hone those skills, and I started feeling confident again. So I joined another league, three years after the first one.

I was good enough to start again. Since I have been working on my game alone, I had trouble adjusting to other people’s play style. I found it difficult to make passes, and I relied on trying to shoot and dribble my way out of anything. That isn’t a good way to play, and it’ll get you a lot of pissed off teammates. I was effective for a few minutes, but stamina got to me. All that work on two particular skills didn’t help everything else.

So I was doing better in that league, but there wasn’t really much of a bar to clear. I can shoot and handle the rock, but only for short stretches. I was starting, but I played fewer minutes than my backup. We lost a lot of games. I was in high school, by the way, so things outside the court are starting to get shitty, too.

With that said, after the league, where we finished 4th out of 12 teams, I went into a basketball hiatus. I decided to focus my efforts on something else, like a high school romance and being as sociable as possible. So I stopped improving for a good two years, and lo and behold, in our high school league, when I was asked to play, I sucked big time.

I didn’t like that.

So I worked on my game again for another year. I also decided to go jogging during mornings, to improve my main weakness in the last league I played in. It worked, and during my senior year, I was a go-to guy. Yep. I reached that level. Note that my teammates were hobbyists at best, and they don’t really play outside of the high school league, so I had to will and carry my team every game.

I led the league in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks. We lost every game that year, though.

“I can accept failure; everyone fails at something sometimes. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

I didn’t win an award, which was blasphemy, according to my teachers and opponents. But I wasn’t thinking about that at all. I just wanted to win.

It all came to a stop when I went to college. For several years, I didn’t even touch a ball. Sure, I still followed the NBA, the PBA, NCAA and UAAP, and all those leagues that matter. But mostly my basketball involvement was me screaming at the TV. Turns out, it helped me as well; it improved my instincts and play-reading. At this point, I was close to giving up on playing ball, and was seriously thinking about being a coach, instead.

I was 19 when I played again. It was supposed to be my last year in college, but things happen, so it wasn’t. Anyway, while I did stop playing for a good four years, I still kept myself in shape. I was jogging whenever I felt like it, which is usually three to four times a week, during that span. So while my stamina is intact, I was worried that everything else isn’t.

Lo and behold, when I dribbled a ball again, everything just came flooding back. My left arm lost most of its strength, so I relied heavily on my right to be effective. Since my right arm is still strong enough, I was able to work on my shooting. Soon I was swishing shots from farther than I used to, since I was getting taller as well. My footwork was a lot better too, since I had better command of my legs than in years past. What I lacked was brute physical strength, which became a requirement. It didn’t matter though, because I was schooling cats left and right, with my newly and improved basketball acumen.

That proved to be a letdown, because I was again invited to a league, this time, its quite fancy. Its our town’s local league, so I’m basically up against the best our town has to offer. Now, I wasn’t the star of our team or anything, but I knew I was better than more than half of us, skill-wise.

“The time when there is no one to feel sorry for you or cheer for you, that’s the time that a player is made.” – Tim Duncan

So, our coach let me in. Second quarter, 8:44 left.

I went to get the ball from the inbound, since in my mind, I was still a guard. But alas, I had a forward’s height now, so the guys who defended me when I reached half-court were almost at least a foot smaller than I am. I had a hard time dribbling because of that, and I turned the damn ball over the moment I crossed half-court. They stole the ball, stepped on the gas, and got a basket.

I got a pass from my coach, since he knew that this was my first major competition in years. The next possession, however, they ran a play for me. They got me behind a screen on the right wing, which is a sweet-spot for my shooting. In my mind, I had the shot made. But when I fired…I got air.

I shot an airball. In front of the entire town.

I was benched for the rest of the game after that shot. I heard people murmur, laugh and all that stuff that you hear when you’re paranoid after screwing up. It pissed me off more that I got spot minutes since then, which means I barely played.

I almost gave up on basketball again. Until I got an invite from an old friend, who wanted to work on me personally. He told me that he can see the potential, the instincts and the drive. I just wasn’t properly deployed during the last league.

So we did. We played a lot of one-on-one, and even more pick-up games. By the time I was 23, I was good enough that people avoided playing against me whenever there’s betting involved. I joined the team that my department in the office fielded out; unfortunately, I got fired shortly before the league started.

I was there for every game they had, though. I was cheering and helping the guys during plays. I was essentially part of the team. In the next company, I was invited for their basketball team, and I was being groomed to be their go-to guy. I left them even before planning for the league started.

“I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I know I’ve practiced enough. I’m just wondering if somewhere, somebody is practicing more than I am.” – Larry Bird

Another year passed, and I never got the chance to play in any official leagues again. I was still a beast on pick-up ball though, and guys I played with hit me up whenever there’s a game they need to show up for.

Then, my first major injury happened. I used to twist my ankle frequently, but this time, it was my back that started to give. I had a herniated disc on my spine, and it took months for it to heal. Luckily I neither had the time or the energy to play, so I was able to recover quickly.

I started playing again when I was 25. I was doing drills, practicing shooting, but I noticed that I wasn’t as agile as before, nor was I as fast full-sprint. So I started relying on my jump shot a bit more, and began to stray away from attacking the basket too often. I am still quite effective, tho not as lethal as I used to be.

“Basketball isn’t just a sport. It’s an art; one that must be mastered to succeed.” – Stephen Curry

Now, which is about a year later, in my current company(which, by the way, is very dear to me), I am playing in a league. I haven’t played up to my standards yet, but I’m sure I’m going to blow up soon enough. The Falcons haven’t really clicked yet, and the chemistry, when everyone’s playing well, is there. We just need to unlock it.

So, going back to the point of this piece(if you haven’t stopped reading yet, thank you). Basketball is a complicated sport. It can be viewed in black in white, like most people, or treated like the science that it is. You learn an awful lot of things playing it, and its not just 10 people bumping bodies to get a ball into a hoop.

You’d learn to read and react. See angles. When to apply force and how much. Improve your hand-eye coordination. Get a better grasp of Physics and the laws of matter. I’m not sure if it applies to everyone, but I don’t like losing. That means you’d get pushed to your limit, and try to be the best you can be, at least, on the court. Now, I understand that everyone has limits, but this is a good way to find out what you’re made of.

Basketball isn’t just a game. Basketball is a culture. Its awfully entertaining, but what people fail to realize is that its not as simple as its primary objective.

Due to that, I’d say that basketball is my first love, and that will never die.

“Once you’re in the game, you forget about everything.” – Manu Ginobili

Seven hells.

I wonder if any kind of hell will still accept me.

Sure, I’ve been trying. Like, really hard. I refuse to believe that I’m a bad person, even if my track record suggests otherwise. But under whose standards am I living up to, anyway? Is it the catholic school upbringing? My grandmother and aunt’s teachings? What I’ve seen from my friends and people I work with?

Who’s to say that you’re a bad person, if all you’re trying to do is to better yourself and avoid situations that you’ve been in? I lie, a lot. I rarely, if ever, reveal what I really think. I don’t like the spotlight; it makes me uncomfortable. I reject any and every form of negativity, whether interpersonal, professional or just feeling bad in general. Yes, I guess I prefer not to care about anything, except myself.

Bad person, right?

But if you knew the backstory behind it, maybe you’d give this selfish bastard a chance. Instead of you just blurting out how bad a person is just because he doesn’t check every box in your standards of being good.

I don’t go to church every Sunday. I rarely pray. I don’t post stuff on social media about what I achieved, where I’ve been, then thank God, Allah, Buddha or some other deity for it, and let everyone else know.

I don’t talk to my biological mom about things that we should talk about, like when she gets older and more frail, her health, how much I earn and how much I’m willing to do for her, which isn’t saying much, really. In fact, I don’t think we talk at all. I’m also the same way towards most of my family, save for a few who have been honest in having my back.

Irresponsible? Maybe.

There are friends I sincerely care about, and about 80-90% that I really don’t. I just dismiss and dislike conflict, so I try to be as good in everyone’s eyes whenever I can, even if I don’t like the person. Really, I don’t have the time or energy for conflict, because people don’t like me. I’d rather read something or listen to music if I were to be honest towards them.

Does that mean I’m fake? Probably.

I love to sing, but I’ve been told that I’m not good enough. I’ve believed them for so long that I stopped trying to, even if I enjoyed doing it. Turns out, I’m not as bad as they make it out to be; they just don’t like it that they can’t sing for their lives. I didn’t tell them that, because then, I’d be the one with insecurities.

Hmm. Holds grudges? You might be right.

I don’t tell people what I really think about anything. I don’t express my opinions as openly as others do, and I don’t agree with a lot of people’s perspectives. There are a few people whom I listen to and genuinely connect with, but sadly, I can count them with my fingers. It usually takes one look for me to know how a person is, and chances are, I’m spot on with my intuition.

Judgmental? That’s a huge possibility.

I rarely move unless its necessary. I prefer laying down, reading with some music on, and I dislike chores. I don’t like being bossed around, or being told what to do. I don’t like being limited or prevented from doing something.

Lazy? Defiant? What have I not heard before?

Let’s be honest: I deserve every bit of hurt those words come with. All of those are true. But I’m just like the lot of you. I’m still incomplete. I’m going to mess up more than I’m going to do well. Otherwise, I’d be dead, since there’s nothing for me to improve on or live for anymore.

I may not have enough redeeming traits to cover for all of those shortcomings. But I try. Like you. Like your neighbor. Like the guy you pass by every day, but don’t really talk to. Like the guys you work with. Like everyone you know who’s held a bottle of liquor and chugged the contents down.

Everyone’s fighting their own battles. Some have so much, that they forget the value of anything. Some have so little, that they forget the value of themselves. Some live for something, while some just want to live. Good, evil, bad, acceptable, who cares? People have reasons to be how they are, and that doesn’t mean that’s all they’re going to be.

At the end of the day, we can tell people what we think they are. We can have all of these assumptions, observations, and all the other -tions about others, but wouldn’t it be so much better, if everyone is more self-aware?

I’ve always loved a line that Tyrion Lannister said: “Wear your flaws like armor, and they can never be used against you.”

Funny how a half-man is more of a man than most. For how ugly he might be, he never points a mirror towards someone else, whilst everyone has theirs on him. That’s just how things are in these seven hells we live in, I guess.

 

 

DISC (dics?)

Yeah, um, portfolio? Screw that, I still haven’t transformed this dumpster into that.

But anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program.

So we took this personality test that categorizes your tendencies in dealing with people, and there are four categories that you can fall under:

D – Dominant
A D is the bossy, pushy, results-driven kind of person who likes things straightforward, blunt and in black and white. They don’t like the bullshit that comes with people.

I – Interpersonal
An I is the congenial, friendly, emotional, touchy-feelers in a group. They value feelings, theirs and other people’s, more than anything when it comes to dealing with homo sapiens.

S – Steady

An S is the chill, relaxed, easygoing one, who dislikes drastic change and conflict. Pretty much the Zen ones.

C – Conscientious

A C is the obsessive, information-driven, fact-finding one. Rarely relies on emotion to make a decision, and loves patterns, Cs have this very scientific method approach in dealing with others.

Yeah, I’d say everyone(which is pretty much one person) who follows this blog knows where I fell.

And no, its not the S. I’m terribly inconsistent with anything that I do, so nope. If you thought I was an I, then high five! You’re wrong, too. I fell under the C kind of guy, because I pay attention. Unlike you. Oh, and I’m also partly a D, so you can say a word that starts with that fits too.

Anyway, in all honesty, I was surprised. I didn’t think I was a keen guy, and I’d like to think that I was carefree. Turns out, I was wrong(and so are you; this won’t go away lol). Everyone knows I have an IQ north of 150, but I didn’t realize that I took it to extremes. Maybe that’s why I didn’t connect with people as well as I would’ve hoped, and that people generally don’t gravitate towards me. I listen to their stories, but I usually just go “bullshit….bullshit….oh, that’s true, but taken out of context…bullshit…” on them. Which led to more realizations.

I had enough time to see the series 13 Reasons Why. The one where a girl committed suicide and made tapes, 13 of them, on why she did what she did. Its really good. Awfully impacting. Will make an I cry. Anyway, that’s not the main point. I realized that my truth isn’t another person’s truth, and is different from another person’s truth.

I respect that before. Even more so now.

My go-to approach towards people is that I don’t tend to care how they feel, as long as I’m not offending anyone to the point where they do something about it. I’m generally apathetic, and I respond appropriately, but deep inside, I don’t really give a shit. But watching Hannah Baker do that to herself, and learning about this DISC thing, I realized that people are complicated pieces of piled-up shit, and you have to be extra careful in dealing with complicated pieces of piled-up shit, because you’re also a complicated piece of piled-up shit yourself, and you don’t want your complicated piled-up shit to be hurt.

I want to know more details before I come to a conclusion, and when I do, its usually based off of several observed facts. But facts are waaaaay different from truths. Facts are what makes the world, but the truths make it go round. People see and encounter different things in their life, and that’s what makes them who they are.

Other people need to pay more attention to how people are. Not just how they feel. Not just how they act, appear, or say things. Like, how they really are. Its importance is understated. It can prevent wars, because really, wars are just a bunch of people who got their beliefs stepped on by the opposite side. We should ask more, and take notice more.

Three Wishes

So we had this random activity in the office where we had to think about what we would ask a genie if ever we found one. There are a lot of things that certain people wished for, and there are some that caught my attention. Things that you normally don’t wish for, or even think about. Well, at least, I don’t think about. Anyway, there’s one guy that wished for his own mountain, complete with a mansion and all, technology that he needs, and security in the form of an army. Yep. A freaking Terracota. Its interesting to try and look deeper into his thought process. Security and such, it seems, is his utmost desire.

Then there’s this guy, who wished for a big-ass robot that he can talk to, and to master alchemy. Pretty cool stuff. Seems to me that this guy is thinking of escaping the bore of his life. Anyway, you get the point. The wishes had a variety that’s without limits.

Which got me thinking, I haven’t thought about wishes at all. I mean, I have like a million desires, and a million goals, but really, I pretty much given up on some of them. But since I had to pinpoint specific wishes(btw, I just provided my list to everyone lol), I got this chance to think deep, and pinpoint what I really would like to attain.

First, I’d wish for a library with all the records and journals ever written in history. I’ve always wanted to know everything; how to do shit, what does which, when does something happen. The pursuit of knowledge. Its my biggest fantasy. To know everything. Its impossibly out of reach, but I sure would like to try.

Secondly, I would love to be able to shop and buy shit without worrying about how much I should pay. Yeah, worldly, I know. But really. If knowledge, my ultimate pursuit, is not power, then I’m damn sure money is.

Lastly, I said “a little warmth” in public. I told people that I piss a lot of people off, which is true, but for entirely different reasons. Hey, don’t judge me. I lie to a lot of people, and this won’t be the last time I would. See, I disappoint people. Like, very often. I fail a lot, I start things without finishing them, and I rarely come through in the clutch, except maybe in a basketball game.

But if there’s anything that I would wish for, its to get another attempt at the things I failed at. The things I turned my back on. Every damned thing that I disappointed in. I have tons of regrets, and I loathe myself. If there’s an opportunity for three wishes, I know that this would be the third. I would like to get another shot at things I’d rather not state.

BOY, THAT TOOK A WHILE.

Okay. Let’s begin by saying that professional output? Put on hold. See my Instagram account for details(more like assumptions, but who’s nitpicking).

Anyhow, I’ve been all over the place the last couple of months, and I’m kinda struggling to put everything together. In other words, my life’s in knots right now. But since I’ve been all over the place, I was able to look up a lot of material that I can use for my video editing pleasure, and some really cool photos online(which, will not be for personal use, since well, they’re not mine). Now, all of these things are found on the Internet, and by no means am I claiming them for myself. Consider them as things to get my creative juices running.

Here are some photos from the Golden State Warriors’ Official Facebook Page:

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Pretty cool eh? They’re under the hashtag #gswcountdown. I have no idea who exactly takes these photos, but he/she is doing one hell of a job. *insert applause here*

Next up are some shots taken by my best friend, Jeannie, who happens to be a darn good shutterbug herself, not to mention doing what I’m aiming to do here for a living:
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See what I mean? You can look up more of her work on her website, http://www.jeanniemanguiat.com. If you’re getting married at some point soon, or if an event needs coverage, feel free to drop her a line.

Next would be some shots from yours truly, since well, I OUGHT TO POST SOMETHING THAT’S MINE, right?:

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You might notice the difference in quality, which is due to the fact that I took these photos using a mobile phone. I’m still working on getting a new camera, so until then, these will do. I can still do a sick editing job though, so if you’re interested, hook me up.

Oh, and can I just say one thing?

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Indeed, it is, master. Indeed, it is.

Now for the good stuff

Okay, I’m not really a read-between-the-lines kind of guy, so I’m gonna write this down the only way I know: bluntly.

As I’ve already mentioned in my Sheldon Cooper infested previous post, this blog will not contain any stories of me fucking up multiple times and not learning from those multiple times to fuck up again on the next post. No, none of that. Secondly, this blog will not contain any personal opinions of stuff ongoing in the world outside of mine, and lastly, this blog will contain my professional output (sort of; big words), which means photos, taken using a phone, and edited until they look presentable enough to actually be on the Internet, and videos, which may or may not contain clips downloaded from the Internet, and edited for your viewing pleasure.

So, summing up that paragraph above, this is a dumpster portfolio. One word, to rule them all. I actually have this shit now. I actually have a portfolio that I’m seriously gonna work on. Wow. Look who decided to grow up.

But then again, maybe not. I still have a lot of haters, and they still kind of get to me. So, with that said…

Back for a second shot at shame

Or not.

Nonetheless, I’M BAAAACK! But if you’re looking for my posts during my late teenage years and my earlier-than-today twenties, you’ve come to the wrong place. Those posts are gone, like, forever, and the mistakes with them. But not the memories. You can bet they’re stored in this fudged-up head of mine though, for future reference.

Which brings us to what this post is about: the future.

This is me nowadays: a computer nerd who makes his living(!) in front of a computer and absolutely does nothing in front of it as well; which is pretty much the same way I was years ago. Only now, I make money out of this, something that I never thought would be possible when I took on my chosen career.

So feel free to give me a passing remark while you read this, since you already wasted approximately 5 minutes of your time on my blog.

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